5 Tips For Set Designers

5 Tips For Set Designers

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Behind every production is a reliable set designer. A set designer is responsible for setting the mood for stage performances.

David Rockwell's set for 'Harvey'

David Rockwell's set for 'Harvey'

Technology has become a major tool for set designers who are professionally trained to come up with scenic impressions for theatre, film, and television. A set designer has to collaborate with the floor manager, theatre director, technical director, prop master, and scenic artist in order to create a completely unique environment. Here are five helpful tips for current and aspiring set designers to keep in mind as they strive to make their production a success:

1. Appreciate the Value of Team Work

Unlike some of the other creatives in the design industry, set designers cannot work alone. Working in a group with common goals allows a set designer to create more efficiently. Set designing can be tedious, so good relations with fellow workmates are essential to the success of a production. By respecting both the juniors and seniors who work behind the scenes, a set designer can increase morale and reduce frustration.

2. Be Open-minded

A successful set designer is willing to listen to the thoughts and suggestions that come from junior and senior managers. Whether the criticism received is positive or negative, open-mindedness can help set designers give audiences what they really want.

3. Make Sure Your Research is Thorough

Once the script is written, a set designer should be able to visualize the scenes and understand the message.  A clear cut understanding of the play will help you select the best stage design and organize the necessary special effects. If a set designer is working on a play that was not written in his native tongue, extra research may be required in order to accurately design for each scene.

4. Watch the Show and Have a Backup Plan

Be on time for every rehearsal.  The appearance of a play can change according to the viewer’s perspective. When the set designer is there to observe during rehearsals and quickly adapt to any changes done on the script, a theatre production can thrive.  Last minutes technical issues can cripple any show. Observe the show to discern potential problems, and come up with a functional backup plan. Having a backup generator or other items on hand can keep the show running smoothly.

5. Embrace Technology

Set designers should never stop learning. Sets can incorporate large LED walls and projection screens for special effects. When you stay up to speed on the latest theatre equipment you can improve the quality of the play and make your job easier.

Set designers play a vital role in stage productions. With the right focus, you can use your creativity and management skills to create a truly unique environment.

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